Like many African communities, the Kikuyu community had its own way of staying healthy and treating diseases. That said, the community had a set of healers who intervened in cases of sickness.
Kikuyu healers relied upon various trees that the community considered to have medicinal properties.
Despite having zero professional background, healers were familiar with signs and symptoms of various illnesses.
So, they could diagnose and use herbal medicines to treat disorders.
Let’s look at a list of Kikuyu medicinal trees.
1. Muiri (Prunus Africana)
Prunus Africana, which is called Muiri in Kikuyu, was a vital medicinal tree.
The tree’s leaves and bark offered immense medical value to the community.
It’s bark was useful in treating the following diseases:
- Chest pains
- Stomach upset
- Kidney infection.
- Enlargement of the prostate
The leaves of prunus were used to treat genital infections and improve appetite.
2. Wanjiru Wa Rurii (Ajuga remota)
In the Kikuyu tradition, Wanjiru Wa Rurii was an effective medicine for treating malaria.
In the recent past, the plant was believed to have shown capability of curing the pandemic of covid-19.
As a result, medical researchers have carried out tests to prove this possibility as they seek an end to the pandemic globally.
3. Banana Flower
Banana trees (marigũ) had more use than eating in the Kikuyu community.
The traditions believed in the tree’s ability to bring an end to some sicknesses and pain.
Women could use banana flowers (mukono) to cover water guards, which they referred to as ‘Kinya’ in the Kikuyu language.
You could see them replacing the dry banana flowers with fresh ones to ensure the water had some juice from the banana flower.
Banana flower released a juice into the water and once consumed, it allowed women to have less painful menstruations.
In the contemporary society, banana flower has proved to have the following medicinal properties:
- Regulating menstrual flow
- Increasing lactation in mother’s
- Strengthening the uterus
- Treating anemia
4. A Blending of Banana Tree, Celery, and Gallant Soldier.
The Kikuyu community mixed banana, celery, and Gallant Soldier to create a medicine for various illnesses.
The blended treatment worked in the treatment of the following ailments:
- Joint pains
- High blood pressure
Interestingly, some Kikuyus from Uthaya in Nyeri County still use the concoction to treat these diseases.
Kikuyu collected the thick liquid from this tree and used it to treat wounds.
6. Mwatha and Mũthakwa wathi
These trees provided the Kikuyu tribe with leaves that were useful in treating cattle swollen lymphatic glands. They did this by mixing and boiling the leaves.
Although civilization has brought an end to the use of most herbal medicines in many communities, there are some diseases that have proved more curable through those ancient means.
No wonder a tree like banana and Gallant Soldier are still relevant to people in Uthaya.